Should Spanking Children be Banned?
Many adults approve of parents spanking their children, and currently 19 states still allow spanking in schools. In The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime, Murray A. Straus, Emily M. Douglas, and Rose Anne Medeiros argue that spanking should be banned, a conclusion they base on the preponderance of the evidence showing that spanking is associated with numerous negative developmental outcomes. Reviewer Clifton R. Emery agrees with this but cautions against the unintended consequences of such a ban. He explains that policies punishing or stigmatizing parents who spank, or policy changes implemented without substantial accompanying public education, could be counterproductive. He suggests that a ban on corporal punishment must be accompanied by public education including, at a minimum, a media campaign, targeted programming for high-risk families, and a mandatory one-semester course in parenting for all high school students.
Is there enough public buy-in about the negative impact of spanking for a ban to be a realistic solution? Do you agree that a ban on spanking could be counterproductive? If so, how? What other solutions are viable?
By Clifton R. Emery
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(22)